UK Radical preacher Anjem Choudary jailed for 5 years for ISIS support

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©EPA via BBC|Anjem Choudary

Do you see how things work in a civilised society? Investigation, arrest, follow-through, and finally, sentencing. No, you cannot preach hate. No, you cannot incite people to hatred or violence. And no, you cannot do so in the name of your God. Radical preacher Anjem Choudary found out today that while the UK might be a tolerant country, it still has laws.

The Muslim hate preacher was convicted at the Old Bailey after backing the terrorist group, ISIS, in an oath of allegiance published online.

This man has followers who have taken his words to heart and carried out attacks both in the UK and abroad. Described by the sentencing judge as “calculating and dangerous,” Anjem Choudary was given the five-year sentence along with his confidante, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.

There is an interesting line from the judge and it is this: “crossed the line between the legitimate expression of your own views and a criminal act”.

For all those who scream ‘freedom of speech’, I think this is the most crucial thing to pick from this sentencing. There is a line between airing your views and criminal behaviour. There are consequences attached to speech, and Anjem Choudary just discovered them.

You might think that a hate preacher being locked away is perhaps not relevant news to Nigeria or Nigerians. But the legal process is one that we would do well as a country to emulate. The god you serve does not give you a right to either practise or incite violence. You cannot behead people because you think they are rude to your God. You cannot call for jungle justice on an individual because you feel they do not follow your ways. And if you do, then do be prepared for sentencing. Because otherwise what we will have is anarchy and mayhem if everyone does what they think their God demands. Or, better put, what we will have is Nigeria.

There must be consequences to actions. The sooner we all learn this, the better.

 

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